Conjugated linoleic acid, currently available as a free fatty acid, has been shown to reduce fat mass and increase lean muscle mass in a number of clinical trials.
Pharmanutrients says that changing the positioning of the fatty acids in CLA could increase the fat loss seen with regular CLA by adding the benefits brought about by diglycerides.
"This small change impacts fat absorption and metabolism causing less triglycerides to be formed in gut cells, releasing fewer plasma triglycerides into circulation and reducing the amount of fat deposited," said the company in a release.
"During the last few years, nutritional DG oil technology has come to dominate the Japanese market due to its fat loss benefits. Since the research originated, 22 animal and human studies have shown body fat reduction and lower blood triglycerides from this uniquely engineered DG molecule," explained Mark Nottoli, president and founder of PharmaNutrients.
"While we have not yet undertaken a study specifically on CLA DG, the experts have no reason to believe it would not have the same benefit," Nottoli told NutraIngredients.com.
He added that the firm is currently in the design phase of a study to evaluate the CLA diglyceride, which is already being used by a dairy company in South America.
However Dutch firm Lipid Nutrition, which currently controls the majority share of global CLA sales along with Germany's Cognis, said that claims for the product were very speculative.
"Extrapolating the outcome of previous studies on diglycerides to CLA is risky. This is a completely different fatty acid," said Sandra Einerhard, senior nutritionist at Loders Croklaan.
"Studies in animals and humans are needed to show that it has an influence on triglycerides and also that the CLA still has the same effect on fat," she told NutraIngredients.com.
If studies support the new product, it would expand PharmaNutrients' offering to the European weight loss market. It has been marketing its Absorbitol brand chitosan product to Europe for around 10 years, and is also active in France, Scandinavia and the UK with its CLA One brand conjugated linoleic acid.
"The whole area of fatty acids is growing in the US and Europe. We've experienced significant growth in both markets year on year," Nottoli said.
PharmaNutrients says that while its CLA is identical in structure to the Tonalin brand marketed by Cognis - both firms have licensed the same intellectual property - its product is some 10 per cent less expensive than Tonalin at around $60 per kg.
The new CLA form, called CLA One DG, will expand the US firm's presence in this growth product. Around 15-20 per cent more expensive than regular CLA, it is said to be virtually tasteless and therefore easily incorporated into food systems as well as supplements.